The islands of the Tuscan archipelago are not that far from San Vincenzo and it is possible to visit them on a one-day trip. Each one is different in terms of history, size, and biodiversity, but nonetheless they’re all full of wonders, both above and underwater.
Discovering the most beautiful islands
How to get to Capraia island
Ferries are available all through the year from Livorno. During summer from San Vincenzo there are daily trips with Acquavision (check the timetables on the official website).
Things to do Capraia Island
Capraia, with its small fishermen’s port, it’s the only town on the island. The oldest part of town is on a hill overlooking the sea, and it’s filled with shops and restaurants.
Near the port there is Cala di San Francesco, otherwise you can reach the other coves with a taxi boat: Cala del Ceppo, Grotta della Foca Monaca, Cala della Mortola and the peculiar Cala Rossa, where the red cliff jut into the blue.
The island is a true paradise for hiking enthusiasts, thanks to its biodiversity. There are several trails, winding through the Mediterranean scrub: heather, arbutus, mastic, and mirth. The highest point is Monte Castello, around 445 m above sea level. We suggest reaching Torre dello Zenobito, on the southern end of the island. Don’t forget to bring water and food, there are no kiosks once you leave the harbor. Sea lovers will appreciate the many snorkeling and scuba diving excursions to discover the wonders of the underwater world.
Try Capraia honey, it has a unique taste thanks to the typical vegetation of the island. Also, the island the only place in Italy where bream and brass are farmed in a protected marine area.
How to get to the island
Ferries are available all throughout the year from Piombino to Portoferraio or Porto Azzurro. There’s a large paid parking lot at the port in Piombino. In summer from San Vincenzo there are daily trips with Acquavision (check the timetables on the official website).
Visiting Elba Island
Capoliveri: A medieval town perched up on the hill, filled with shops and traditional restaurants.
Porto Azzurro: A lovely seaside town, with a wonderful waterfront, lined with chic boutiques and excellent easteries.
Portoferraio: The biggest town on the island, still full of charm and beautiful vistas, the one from Forte Stella especially.
Rio Marina: A mining town since the Etruscan age, with dark-sand beaches that glisten in the sand from the iron residues.
If you’re feeling like going to the beach, the most famous on the island are Fetovaia, Pomonte, Cavoli, and Biodola, but look out for the smaller coves too, it’s hard to be disapponited here!
History and archaeology
Fortresses, palazzo and archaeological sites: history buffs rejoice, there’s plenty to see on Elba island. Bastioni Medicei, Forte Inglese and Torre del Martello in Portoferraio, Fortezza di Marciana with Torre degli Appiani, Volterraio Castle, Forte San Giacomo in Porto Azzurro are just some of the attractions you can visit. Don’t miss the excavations of Villa Romana delle Grotte, dating back to the I century b.C., and Villa Romana della Linguella.
Cycling fans will enjoy the two famous ring roads on the island, the western and the central one. If you prefer trekking or MTB, the island comprises many trails with breathtaking views overlooking the sea. Don’t miss Laghetto delle Conche with its peculiar red color, due to the presence of iron.
Try stockfish, spaghetti al sugo di margherita (crab) and sburrita, or gurguglione, a vegetable soup. And for dessert, opt for schiaccia briaca with Aleatico, a local wine.
How to get to Giglio island
Ferries are available all through the year from Porto Santo Stefano.
During summer from San Vincenzo there are daily trips with Acquavision (check the timetables on the official website).
Things to do on Giglio island
Giglio Porto: Colorful houses and a 16th-century tower await you. Here you can rent mopeds and bicycles to discover the island.
Giglio Castello: A medieval village worth visiting, with narrow streets, arcs, and period architecture. The local Rocca Aldobrandesca is a fortification that guarded the island against external attacks, as the town is 405 m above sea level.
Giglio Campese: The main tourist destination, thanks to its large beach, it is also home to a 17th-century tower.
The most famous one is Spiaggia delle Caldane, but there also are Spiaggia delle Cannelle and Spiaggia di Arenella are worth a visit. In Giglio Campese, the beach, thanks to its location, attracts surfers and sailors every year. Many taxi boats can get you to the coves that cannot be reached by land.
History and archeology.
Near Giglio Castello, there’s the megalithic site of Cote Ciombella, a complex with archaic rocks in peculiar shapes. In Giglio Porto stands Villa del Saraceno with the remains of a tank used for fish farming and a Roman villa dating back to between the 1st and the 2nd-century a.D. Torre del Lazzaretto was built by the Medici as a watchtower and later converted into a leper hospital.
There are many trails, both for trekking and MTB, and they are all marked with educational panels along the way. Take water and food with you, since some of these paths are difficult and far from kiosks In some parts of the island, there is no signal. Take your camera with you to capture the colorful views, the green of nature and the blue of the sea.
Try scabeccio and palamita alla gigliese, two traditional seafood dishes and for dessert order panficato, a treat made with nuts and figs.
How to get to Pianosa Island
Only in summer from San Vincenzo, there are daily trips with Acquavision (check the timetables on the official website).
Things to do on Pianosa Island
There are many restrictions on the island, since it was a former prison colony, which was closed permanently in 2011. It takes its name from its plain shape, mostly rocky with stretches of sandy beaches. It’s a protected area where the scents of the Mediterranean scrub fill the air: juniper, rosemary, mastic, and spazzaforno, a rare shrub that grows on rocky soil like this one. As it is uninhabited and regulated for tourists, it is a reproduction destination for many birds, such as the peregrine falcon and the rare Corsican seagull.
The only accessible area of the island is Cala Giovanna, a white sandy beach with crystal-clear water. Don’t forget your snorkeling mask to explore the underwater world: salps, snappers, groupers, and if you’re lucky you could also meet spider crabs and lobsters.
Be sure to bring food and water, as there are no snack bars on the island.